The Bharatiya Janata Party continues to face headwinds in Karnataka, six months after the party made an abortive attempt to capture power in the state despite coming short of majority in the state elections.
The state is counting the votes from five by-polls today, including two assembly seats and three Lok Sabha seats.
|LAST ELECTION||CURRENT TALLY|
|BJP||Cong OR JDS||BJP||Cong+JDS|
Both assembly seats are held by the JDS-Congress ruling combine, and are likely to be comfortably retained by them, according to the indications so far.
However, more interesting trends are visible in Lok Sabha bypoll results.
Out of the three seats for which counting is on, two are currently held by the BJP and one by the JDS.
Going by the numbers so far, the BJP will almost certainly lose one of its two seats, while retaining one. The JDS, meanwhile, is set to retain its one Lok Sabha seat.
Three seats are seeing counting today — Shimoga, Bellari and Mandya. The first two are held by the BJP and the last one by JDS.
The biggest upset is happening at Ballari, which BJP strongman B Sriramulu had won comfortably with 5.34 lakh votes in 2014, against 4.62 lakh votes for the JDS and the Congress combined (even though they had fought independently).
This time, the position has been reversed, with the ruling combine leading with 4.78 lakh votes against 2.94 lakh votes for the BJP. (Please see table above for updated numbers).
Even in Shimoga, which BJP won comfortably in 2014 with 6.06 lakh votes against 4.83 lakh votes for JDS and Congress (taken together), is seeing a closer contest this time.
With 4 out of 16 rounds completed, the BJP is ahead at 3.38 lakh votes against 3.02 lakh votes for the JDS+Congress combine.
There is, however, some good news for the BJP from Mandya, the bastion of the JDS.
With the Congress joining forces with the Deve Gowda party, the anti-JDS votes seem to have flowed to the BJP this time, helping the saffron party improve its tally.
While BJP won only 8% of the votes won by JDS+Congress in 2014, this time, it has won 36% of the votes that the JDS+Congress combine has won.
Currently, the BJP is at 0.68 lakh votes against 1.90 lakh for the combine.